Losing weight is a big topic these days, with half of the population being overweight its not suprising.
Being able to lose weight is a fairly simple process that most of us already know, but for one reason or another we choose not to action those processes.
I will try to explain a way to losing weight in a way that is appealing, makes alot of sense and is very managable.
To lose weight we have to create a system where the amount of energy we consume is less than the amount our body uses up.
Rather than think about how little calories you have to consume, think about how you can get your body to burn up as much energy as possible. A bit like the best behaved boy in the school. It doesn't matter how much homework you throw at him, he will always get it done, never putting it off until later. You need to turn your body into the best behaved body in the school - always consuming calories and never saving them for later.
Getting fit dramatically increases the rate at which you are able to lose weight. The reason for this is because of the amount of extra energy you are able to burn compared to if you were not fit and didn't exercise.
Lets look at that a liitle closer.
If you are fit your body will use more energy each day
*During your exercise sessions your body has to use energy to do whatever movements or activities are in your workout, so your body takes its stored energy and directly uses it to make your body move.
*After your workout you have to recover, this recovery takes energy. The energy is used to repair the damage created by your workout (the reason you become sore) and make it stronger for next workout.
*Because you exercise, you will have better muscle development. This increased muscle activity means that it uses up more energy just to exist. So even when you are not exercising you will be using up more energy. Which is great.
The advantage someone who is fit has over someone who has litte fitness is that they will be able to exercise for longer and exercise harder. This has the knock on effect of using up more energy during the workout and more energy after the workout during the recovery thase.
If this person then continues to exercise the next day, the process hightens even more, where the body is being continually challenged by the exercise and forced to repair and strenthen itself.
This whole process is like stoking a fire - you don't want the roaring flames to die away so you give it a poke to stimulate it and get those flames burning strong again. You create that situation within your body by firing up the systems in the body each day when you exercise. The more you stoke the fire the brighter it will burn.
So we have established that `being fit and exercising has a big advantage when it comes to losing weight and keeping that weight off.
Next we need to look at how we should exercise to lose weight.
This changes a little as you progress and get fitter, this is an important part to your success and where many go wrong.
We have to consider that our bodies are extremely clever things and can be learn from the situations they are put in.
In this case we need our bodies to lose weight by using excess stored energy as fuel.
So remember we have to teach our bodies what we want it to do - it won't do it by itself, just like you can't operate the sky plus system if you had never been shown how.
We know that exercise uses up energy, so we have to introduce exercise to our body. Now if you have a low level of fitness you need to work at a lower intensity to start with. This is because your body has not yet learnt how to use the stored energy it has very effeciently. As you get fitter your body will access your stored energy much better during exercise.If you exercise hard when you have little fitness you tend to get fatigued quickly and end up using up less energy if you take it easier but exercise for longer. Also this serves as a good stimulus for the body to adapt as it can be sustained for longer and therefore has a stronger overall effect on getting fitter.
As you progress you will naturally be able to push harder and achieve more total work per workout.
This is where we get the snowballing effect, because you can exercise harder and for longer you will use up more energy. This extra stimulus from the harder workouts means that you will also be gettiing fitter faster too.
So we begin slowly and build up - this may sound obvious, but it is where many people go wrong because they push to hard to early. First you need to put the ground work down then biuld on it.
As you get fitter it becomes appropiate to push harder during the workout because your body has made adaptations towards exercise and is more effecient at using its energy stores.
What types of exercise should you do ?
There is no right or wrong when it comes to answering this question, but you need to enjoy it. As there are so many different types of exercise I am sure that you can find something that is fun.
To get the best results I would recommend exercise where you are working all, or at least a large proportion of your entire body. This allows you to keep a balanced posture and avoid overuse injuries, but also is optimises total energy you use up. Your body will have to repair and rebuild many muscles which takes more energy than say two or three major muscle sets.
So you could combine a weights program with jogging, cycling or rowing. Swimming offers good all round body exercise. Also many fitness classes have a great array of exercises to challenge the whole body.
By far my favourite way of gaining the most from your time is by putting together a series of challenging whole body exercises to make a workout program.
These offer a total body workout that also challenges your cardiovascular system too.
You can do a routine anywhere with a full set of equipment or with not much at all.
This type of session can be adjusted to suit the full spectrum of fitness abilities.
These types of workouts are exactly the sort I have used for many years with great success on all of my happy clients.